The prodigal son in O.H. Bennett’s third novel, Creatures Here Below, Mason is full grown, just this side of a man and no longer submitting to his mother’s swift backhand. Kills his nights at a small-time pool hall, throwing bones and trading blows with the sort of friends who double as enemies. Never knew his father, not until a juvenile who’s-your-Daddy-joke revealed the snickering punch line: Pops Pony Reed, a dick-swinging, whiskey-tongued Hoosier hustler. Dropped out of high school. No regular job. No money. No reason to believe any good can come of a bad hand. Until… his fingers find the feel of their first handgun.